As Internet users all over the world may be gearing up to celebrate World Emoji Day on July the 17th, Twitter is preparing something up their own sleeves as well. In a blog post by Neil Shah, Twitter’s ads API product manager, the company revealed a new feature which would allow advertisers to target potential customers based on their emoji activity on the social networking website.
Targeted advertising based on or using emojis may not be something new for marketers as more brands are turning to emojis as a new form of monetisation. Take for example Domino’s emoji ordering system which won a Titanium Grand Prix; Dominos built an emoji ordering system that allows people to text a pizza emoji to instantly place delivery orders saved in their accounts with the fast feeder.
Certainly, the use of emojis are fast becoming our everyday lexicon, given that Oxford Dictionary even awarded the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji as its 2015 Word of the Year! There is even a website known as Emojitracker which tracks realtime emoji use on Twitter.
(Fun fact: Did you know that you can also search Google using emojis?)
Additionally, according to Instagram’s Engineering Blog, the vocabulary of Instagram is shifting similarly across many different cohorts as the decline in Internet slang has given way to a corresponding rise in the usage of emoji.
(Source: Instagram’s Engineering Blog)
It’s no wonder that Twitter has seen the great potential emojis could bring for their targeted advertising.
“Over 110 billion emojis have been Tweeted since 2014”, said Shah in his earlier blog post, which roughly translates into a massive opportunity for them to cash in on advertisers looking to distribute ads based on emoji use of emotions, foods, activities, and much more. Most social networks are searching for one way or another for the company to chase those advertising dollars. Given that Twitter has not been seeing much growth in their profit and has in fact been losing $2 billion since 2011, one of Twitter’s successful methods of generating sales has only been from sponsored tweets and partnerships.
“Emojis have become a ubiquitous way for people, publishers, and brands to express their feelings … This new feature uses emoji activity as a signal of a person’s mood or mindset — unlocking unique opportunities for marketers” Shah stated.
Emoji-targeted advertising could turn out to be a great cash cow for the company, as Twitter believes that marketers will be able to use the emoji activity as a way to determine a person’s mood and then “connect” with them, in turn driving “deep engagement and better performance for brands”.
What this may mean for users is that a simple tweet with a Friday night beer emoji may entail some big beer brand or the local craft brewery appearing on ads on your timeline to try their new flavours. Or a Twitter user who tweets out a pizza emoji could have various restaurants flooding their mentions to call customers in for a slice.
Basically any time an emoji is tweeted out, it could be used by brands to target you with specific products. While the company uses food emojis as a target example for now, it could well move on to other options such as adverts from a sports brand when a user tweets a soccer ball emoji during a Euro 2016 match. Or if a user tends to tweet the emoji of a particular flag frequently, it could be an indication to advertisers on a person’s nationality and country preferences. The possibilities are truly limitless.
Any advertisers who are seeking to implement the new targeting options will work with Twitter’s official Ads API (application programming interface) partners, who include AdParlor, Amobee, HYFN, Perion, SocialCode, and 4C to target people who have recently Tweeted or engaged with Tweets featuring emojis.
It remains to be seen if Twitter users would appreciate the new method for targeted advertisements or negatively affect their use of the social media. So what is your opinion on emoji-targeted advertising?
 Twitter blog
 The Next Web
 Digital Trends